Posts about Culture

Snots scream: ‘snot fair!

Heh. A bunch of movie critics in the UK are whining that Disney used blurbs from real people in ads for the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Welcome to the future critics: We’re all critics now. It’s particularly funny to me that critics consider blurbspace theirs. How dare a movie studio quote the people who actually buy the tickets and watch the movies? How dare they give respect to the audience?

I will confess that when I was a critic, I got pissed when I was blurbed without mention of my name. But there was only one reason for that: ego.

(While I’m at it, another blurb story: I was TV critic at People and complained in my column about a “pinhead” at NBC who had taken my review quite out of context to turn a negative review into a positive blurb. It was something to the moral effect of this: I said the show as an incredible piece of crap and the blurb said, “Incredible!” Anyway, when my putative partner in the launch of Entertainment Weekly went to Hollywood to push the magazine before its launch, he met with an executive at NBC who announced that he was my “pinhead.” He was not amused. I was.)

Guardian column: Paulo Coelho, pirate

My Guardian column this week is an interview with the Googliest author I know, Paulo Coelho about the power of free and friendships online. The lede:

Paulo Coelho certainly has nothing against selling books. He has sold an astounding 100m copies of his novels. But he also believes in giving them away. He is a pirate. . . .

Oh, those Brits

My friend Neil McIntosh says he was inspired by my wonder at the British institution of the Pukka Pie (why’d anyone one to puke a pie, I asked) to explain the ritual on his blog as he did for me on my visit to London last week:

When served in a crinkly plastic bag, the top may appear cool, while the foil tray in which they rest is quite warm. Nothing, however, indicates the extraordinary heat in the centre of the pie. N00b pie eaters will dive straight in, and risk serious burns to tongue, lips and even face as the pie contents spill out. Seasoned supporters view this as something of a test; the “serious” fan would not make such a schoolboy error.

The pragmatic pie eater, therefore, may choose to wait 15-20 minutes before consuming the product, knowing that it is piping hot throughout despite its cool exterior. This waiting time is known, at least round seat M108 of the Don Rogers Stand, Swindon, as the “half life” of the Pukka pie. The pie should then be debagged and, by means of gripping the edges of the foil tray while using the index finger to push the bottom of said tray, the pie raised out its container. This allows a safer approach to the snack, all the while ensuring no gravy spills down your front.

I think he’s taking me for a N00b. Surely one can’t eat a piping-hot gravy-and-grease-filled pie as if it were something truly sensible like a hot dog. I’m betting he’s trying to trap me. I have demanded a demonstration.

I am reminded of one of my favorite Calvin Trillin pieces in The New Yorker in which he attended an oyster festival at a bayou firehouse. The firefighters tried to rile N00b oyster-haters by convincing them that REAL men preferred to consume the bivalves by sucking them up their noses. This, Trillin said, made just as much sense to an oyster-fearer as eating them in the mouth.

Neil also points us to Pukka Pie posters, which can be purchased for two quid each (that’s about $300 for us). What’s particularly striking is how they try to make the Pukka Pie into a sexual symbol. But then again, they do produce foodstuffs named after an article of stripper’s clothing.

Odd, those Brits.

George Carlin: Shit

Twitter was built for tributes to George Carlin. Seven words just fit.

He no longer needs a place for his stuff. Damn.

High on Weeds

I’ve been inhaling the third season of Weeds on my iPod (it’s a crime to watch Mary-Louise Parker that size). On the way back from London last night, I watched four episodes in a row – which is a great way to see it. OK, every once in awhile the plot does take a Dallas-shower-scene route (Andy getting out of the Army). But gawd, I do love the thing. And I can’t get enough of Parker, queen of MILFs. It’s about enough to get me to finally subscribe to Showtime.

(Disclosures: I had an ad from Showtime on the blog when the fourth season started and they sent me third season on DVD — but I was so eager, I’d already bought it on iTunes.)